Saint Julien: less excitement from 2012 barrel samples than expected
April 21, 2013
Now, I did not get a chance to taste Ducru Beaucaillou, which apparently obtained many a plaudit from tasters this year. I intend to taste it in June 2013. So stay tuned. I will also taste Leoville Las Cases in June… But I did taste many important estates, in a blind tasting, during en primeur week. Usually Saint Julien is the most reliable appellation, but it does not seem to be the case in 2012, at least based on the enclosed barrel samples. It was OK, mind you, but again, nothing that really “wowed” me…
Tasting on Thursday 11 April at Grand Puy Ducasse – blind samples of Saint Julien. I usually find more cohesive quality from this appellation but not so in 2012… let’s see how they come from bottle! Tasted along with wines from the Haut Medoc, Pauillac and Saint Estephe.
Chateau Beychevelle 88-90
1: Fresh nose with slight oak derivation. Pretty. Supple attack. The mid palate has tannic bite, of modest flavor intensity, leading to a moderate but salty fresh finish. While not bad, I was not keenly impressed either…
Chateau Talbot 86-88
2: Lead pencil aroma. Somewhat austere mid palate leads to a rather modest finish. A bit more ho-hum here!
Chateau Gruaud Larose 88-91
3: Red fruit, violets. Supple attack. Smoothness on the palate texture. Supple mid palate, leads to structure being showcased. Moderate straightforward finish. Most promising so far… Wait for time in barrel.
Chateau Branaire Ducru 89-91
4: Fresh aspect, bit like floral branches. Red fruit. The palate is brisk and salty, if a touch tight. Fine concentration however. A richness on the mid palate, albeit tannic structure evident. Moderate finish.
Chateau Langoa Barton 87-89
5: Reduced notes here. Check again. Better second sample with wild strawberry and raspberry aromatics. Smooth mid palate, leads to moderate lingering length. OK plus.
Chateau Lagrange 88-90
6: Red fruit. Apple too. Sap on the attack, more structure from mid palate to finish. Briskness. Tannic spine.
Chateau Saint Pierre 90-92
7: Exuberant aromas, floral, black fruit, lovely. “Measured” opulence, fine freshness, quite precise. Tannic backbone towards end palate, but juiciness presides. Moderate plus length. Best of the bunch.
Chateau Gloria 87-89
8: Blackberry and plum. Forest, inorganic earthiness, a touch of leafiness, the attack is supple, with a modest flavor intensity, marked by some tannic spine. Rather polite, somewhat modest finish.
Chateau Leoville Barton 89-91
9: Somewhat closed nose, but coaxing brings out another fresh category wine – fine floral aromatics. Not so much “ripe fruit” but more subtle floral/plant aromatics. The attack is supple, similar to previous wine, with a soft mid palate leading to a modest finish that leaves the stamp of structure more than anything else. Let’s see how it fills out with barrel aging…
Chateau Leoville Poyferre 89-91
10: Reduced nose but aeration brings out some black fruit. Attack is brisk enough. Tannic structure predominates throughout, with modest notes of blackberry and plum, with a modest if somewhat tight finish.
I also tasted a decent Château du Glana (87-89) cru bourgeois level Saint Julien at the Cercle de Rive Gauche tasting.
See my notes for barrel samples from the other Bordeaux appellations in 2012: